Co Tyrone Pro-life group joins the AOH to promote message

Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough and Catherine Sewell from the St Joseph's Pro Life Division
Connla Young

A HIGH-PROFILE pro-life group has relaunched as a division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Co Tyrone.

In an unusual move members of Dungannon based St Joseph’s Pro-Life Group have formed a new AOH branch in the county.

In the past the group has campaigned vigorously against abortion and will now be known as the St Joseph’s Pro-Life Division.

In 2015 the St Joseph’s group claimed it contributed to former Sinn Féin Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew losing her Westminster seat.

It later said it had targeted candidates who belonged to parties that support abortion.

The AOH is an orthodox Catholic organisation with members in Ireland, America and parts of Britain.

Organised into divisions, its members take part in annual parades on St Patrick’s Day and mark the Feast of the Assumption each August.

Anti-abortion campaigner Catherine Sewell (33) said the decision to join the AOH will help promote the group's message.

“It’s just another stepping stone to get the pro-life message out,” she said.

“It gives us a stronger platform to promote the pro-life message.

“There could be other divisions opening up and we will welcome any new members that are pro life.”

The creation of the new division was welcomed last night by Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough who said the “pro-life cause was central to the Hibernian ethos”.

“The members of the St Joseph’s Pro-Life Division are all highly motivated, energetic people who will play a major role in the development and direction of an evolving Hibernian movement,” he said,

Mr McGeough said there was currently a “surge of interest in Hiberianism” and the St Joseph’s division is the first of three expected to be set up in Tyrone before Christmas.

“There appears to be a growing restlessness and sense of disillusionment prevalent across nationalist communities in the north at the moment, which might also explain the renewed interest in the AOH,” he said.

“People are tired of empty promises and political correctness and they are reassured to see an organisation that actually stands for something and refuses to compromise on age old principals.

“We are unashamedly Catholic and proud to be Irish.”

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